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"The best health care system in the world." That's what Republicans told us we had back in 1994 when they killed the last attempt at reforming the American system. John McCain still believes it and claims it. Anything was better, it seems, than giving the Democrats a winning issue.

So where are we 10 years later? The US ranks 43rd in the world in infant mortality, and 41st in the world in life expectancy. Overall, our health care ranks just behind Costa Rica. But first in the world in per-capita cost. Third-world-class health care, at Rolls-Royce prices.

And the public has finally had enough.

A new study by Harris Interactive for The Commonwealth Fund has found that a huge 82% of Americans believe that the US health care system needs either fundamental changes or complete rebuilding.

Only minor changes needed:16%
Fundamental changes needed:50%
Rebuild completely:32%

You saw that right: twice as many Americans support a blow-it-up-and-start-all-over strategy, like single payer, as support the GOP do-nothing-and-wish approach.

Over the past 40 years, the insurance industry has proven, over and over again, that the classic capitalist for-profit system simply doesn't work for health care. In a capitalist system, a company does best when it makes the best product and sells it to the most customers. More customers means more profit.

But that's not the way the health insurance industry works. In health insurance, you make the most money by driving away customers -- those customers who are sick. You do it by raising their premiums when they get sick, or cancelling their coverage all together. Anything you can do to drive those people to your competitor increases your profit.

Make no mistake about it. The health insurance industry in the United States turns a profit by allowing sick people to die. It's immoral, it's unconscionable, and it does not deserve the support of the government, nor of any decent person.

So it's time for us to push hard to move the Overton Window on health care. Obama's plan is a stopgap, and probably represents the best he thinks he can realistically get against a health insurance industry and it's parliament of whores.

And McCain's "plan"? If you are unemployed, have no insurance, and have a pre-existing condition, the John McCain health plan amounts to this: show up at an emergency room and beg for charity.

It's time for progressives to stand up and push hard for single payer as the best option. Read Dr. Steve's diary, get involved, talk to your congresspeople and candidates. This poll shows that the public is behind us, that the mainstream is on the left. Now is the time! Push for it!

Originally posted to The Numerate Historian on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:10 PM PDT.


On health care, the best option is:

1%2 votes
4%5 votes
10%11 votes
4%5 votes
4%5 votes
69%70 votes
2%3 votes
0%0 votes

| 101 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unfortunately (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nightowl724, DWG, adrianrf, luckylizard, ancblu

    I was thinking about this the other day.  If Obama is so tied up with the Iraq, Afghanistan, possible Iran, and now Georgia/Russia wars, not to mention whatever other fuckups Bush is leaving, I fear the "change" he says is needed to make these kind of changes will be difficult to achieve.

  •  Third world health care at Rolls-Royce prices (14+ / 0-)

    says it all.

    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by DWG on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:20:52 PM PDT

  •  That is wonderful news (7+ / 0-)

    if the US citizenry finally realizes the time is here to throw out our health care system and start over.  Single-payer is the only way to go. We need to make sure the narrative gets framed the right way this time around.

  •  Seen this story? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, nightowl724, Youffraita

    (prepare to drop a few f-bombs)

    "Don't falme me pleas."

    by socratic on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:31:14 PM PDT

  •  Isn't it amazing that in the face of such numbers (8+ / 0-)

    All the Dem leadership and many progressive groups - SEIU, MoveOn, etc - are still stuck on the mantra that single payer is "not politically feasible"
    What they mean is that half of them are in the pocket of the insurers and the other half lack the stomach for a fight with them.  It's going to take a lot of good hard organizing to stiffen their collective spine.

    •  That is just about (7+ / 0-)

      ..."not politically feasible"
      What they mean is that half of them are in the pocket of the insurers and the other half lack the stomach for a fight with them.

      the only way to read their positioning.  Remember during that Citizens' Listening Tour - that series of town hall meetings across the country.  The majority of the reports had the citizens calling for Universal Health Care - but those sentiments were left out of the final reports.

      Hard not to be a "conspiracy theorist" when the evidence so clearly abounds.

    •  It's true, it's not politically feasable (0+ / 0-)

      This reminds me of "impeachment is off the table". When the Dems took control of Congress in 2007 the new Speaker said "impeachment is off the table", yet lots of well meaning people have put a lot of energy into impeachment. It's certainly their right and their effort is admirable. But, after two years its clear that BushCo will run out the clock. It is a FACT that a national single payer plan "Medicare for all" is not politically feasable because the 16% who like the current system have more political capital and resources than the 32% who would like to rebuilt it completely. And it's not close. We have a choice, what do we want more - quality healthcare for everyone or the same healthcare for everyone? If it's more important that everyone have the same single payer plan we will still be waiting in 2012 and beyond. However, if we are willing to have Medicare for all, financed by an expanded Medicare flat tax, with the option for people at their own expense with after-tax dollars to join private plans we could quickly find consensus. Both Canada and England allow people to have private plans. A majority of the 16% will accept the higher taxes for care for everyone just as long as they are not forced to be in the national single payer plan. In addition, there are a group of very influential physicians who would be happy to continue to practice for upscale patients with a concierge type business model. If forced into a national plan they will first use all of their political and financial resources to fight it and if they loose many will retire from the practice of medicine. So let the 16% keep their private plans and move down a path that IS politically feasable.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 11:02:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so they keep their "private plans" AND... (0+ / 0-)

        pay money to an insurer in exchange for a promise of "coverage". Nearly 80% of people bankrupted by illness or injury had "coverage" at the onset of the bankrupting injury or illness...

        The insurers make a profit by denying approval for medically necessary care by claiming it's either experimental, excluded, or the policy holder forgot to dot an 'i' or cross a 't'...

        The patient then loses their ability to pay for their "cadillac plan;"...and all those wasted dollars that could've been helping someone else goes into shareholder's pockets, advertising and marketing accounts, and inflated executive/administrative compensation packages!

        We already know the 16% may be getting what they think they wanted, but it won't be what they need, when they need it: guaranteed health care! They'll end up being cared for by our public sector system anyway, and I don't begrudge them that. Only the argument that a "single-payer" system isn't politically feasible.

  •  oh shoot. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, nightowl724

    I chose the single payer option.

    I meant to choose "pie".

    always choose pie in polls.


    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Sat Aug 09, 2008 at 09:57:28 PM PDT

  •  I chose "Something else"... (0+ / 0-)

    ...because we need - and can do better than - Medicare for all, especially when it comes to prescription drugs.

  •  Federal candidates for office (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Keith Pickering

    should say they will fight for a bill signing on Inauguration Day on the Capitol steps that will:

    1. open Medicare to all Americans
    1. have age-based premiums for adults under 65
    1. be free with no co-pay or deductible for children under 18 or full-time students in college
    1. effectively reduce Medicare co-pays for people below age 65 and above 85 as of the first of the month that are also below 150% of the poverty line ASAP on a graduated scale from 19 to 5% based on federal government SS & IRS tax return records by posting reimbursement payments after July 2009 to one's income tax account
    1. allow sign up in 2009, upon COBRA expiration, upon expiration of individual coverage, and in July of even numbered years.
    1. require premium payments be made to Medicare or a private health insurer until the amount Medicare has paid out on behalf of the individual has been exceeded, adjusted for inflation.

    ASAP and by June 2009 take into full account:

    1. all governmental and debt/housing/support contractual obligations
    1. all home, renters, and car insurance not included above
    1. a home heating oil/gas & electric service allowance based on family size and zip code not included above
    1. hazardous condition abatement and necessary home repair costs not included above
    1. credit checks and application fees for housing
    1. customary housing locating service fees in New York City
    1. normal volunteer fire department contributions
    1. the cost of appropriate telephone service
    1. ISP costs for students above age 6, professionals, and Schedule C filers
    1. all unreimbursable educationally related expenses
    1. all uncovered medical expenses not included above
    1. actual, unreimbursed, culturally expected and customary post-mortem expenses
    1. a reasonable car and mileage/zip code based commuting cost allowance
    1. actual parking expenses connected with work and medical care
    1. appropriate work-specific clothing expenses
    1. appropriate professional and license fees
    1. union dues
    1. 401-K matching
    1. all legal expenses certified by a member of the bar or court clerk as appropriate for premium reduction
    1. bonding costs certified by a judge or court clerk as appropriate for premium reduction
    1. all immigration and naturalization government fees and fines
    1. appropriate government ID/passport costs
    1. constitutionally protected religious financial contributions
    1. constitutionally protected political contributions
    1. constitutionally protected media expenses not included above
    1. appropriate maid and other home helper expenses for disabled people
    1. other expenses to be identified by public meetings and hearings

    Financing sources could include:

    1. employer payroll taxes [with full credit for medical payouts made for the lowest paid 90% of company workers]
    1. a national sales tax on non-essentials
    1. an excessive [compared to Western Europe] domestic drug/medical technology sales revenue clawback
    1. 10% state funding of provider services in lieu of Medicaid burdens
    1. tobacco tax and settlement payouts
    1. taxing capital gains from stock options, real estate [with personal residence exclusions], REITs, and medical earnings portion of stocks as ordinary income [to be taxed by law ASAP, but collected after 2009]
    1. a fifty cents per gallon gasoline tax increase
    1. a 10% surcharge levied on states for inpatient stays of more than 7 days in a year so states prevent improper hospital confinement and fraud

    People could pay for a three month period of Medicare coverage by sending in an age-based premium like they do with estimated taxes, but about a month in advance so they can get a three-month orange Medicare card in time. People needing subsidies could just go to a welfare office or health department and pay whatever their share is with a check, cash, or a postal money order, the agency would make up the difference in a check to the IRS.

  •  when other polls say that people are satisfied (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingleVoter, triv33, adrianrf
    with their health care, remember that what they are happy with is their doctor.

    Some (yes, including Ezra Klein) have taken such polls to suggest that people would not be open to the sea change that single payer represents. B.S.

    Nobody is happy with their insurance company!

    The key with single payer is that
    - you keep your doctor.
    - you have more choice.
    - etc.

  •  Multipayer can work also (0+ / 0-)

    Hillary's Plan is based on multiplayer and will be compatible with the system we have now. It will cover everyone so no one is left out. Her plan is the best plan of them all and it beats Obama's plan also. I'm voting for Obama come November but I hope he adopts Hillary's healthcare plan.

    Hillary's plan is similar to the Dutch. Almost the same concept as single payer but we don't have to do a complete overhaul. Everyone is covered under their system and just about every Dutch is happy with their healthcare.

    My advice to Obama is to just let Hillary handle healthcare. Let her make that her one and only issue and adopt it. Thus uniting the party. And Obama doesn't have to worry about implementing his own plan which seems to be a little inferior to Hillary's.

    Oh please don't talk about McCain's plan. Its not worth it.

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